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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
WORK POD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/040952
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A work pod including: a U-shaped first component; a tiltable surface secured to the first component; a U-shaped second component; a bridging panel; a chair movably mounted to the bridging panel; and connectors for connecting the bridging panel between the first and second panels. The first component is receivable within the second component, such that the pod is configurable between: (i) an operative condition, in which the bridging panel spaces the first and second components and the chair is disposed there between; and (ii) a stowed condition, in which the support surface is raised; the first component is received within the second component to reduce the width of the work pod to less than 770mm; and the chair and bridge are sandwiched between the first and second components.

Inventors:
KOK BARRY (ZA)
TROXLER DOUGLAS
Application Number:
ZA2018/050045
Publication Date:
February 28, 2019
Filing Date:
August 17, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TASHEA 30 PTY LTD (ZA)
International Classes:
A47B83/00; A47B83/02
Foreign References:
US1903954A1933-04-18
FR3034121A12016-09-30
GB2501538A2013-10-30
US5536080A1996-07-16
US5695264A1997-12-09
US4478467A1984-10-23
US6048044A2000-04-11
US5803562A1998-09-08
US4874027A1989-10-17
US20050217540A12005-10-06
USD458453S2002-06-11
US6598649B12003-07-29
US8215065B22012-07-10
US20120199049A12012-08-09
US20150176273A12015-06-25
US20100164338A12010-07-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIBANDA & ZANTWIJK (ZA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A work pod including: a first component that is generally U-shaped, defining opposed side panels along its minor sides and an interposed back panel along a major side; a support surface tiltably secured to the first component, the support surface being tiltable between: (i) an operative condition, in which the support surface extends more than 60 cm from the first component back panel, in use, to provide a substantially horizontal desk top for a user; and (ii) a stowed condition, in which the support surface extends less than 8 cm from the back panel; a second component that is generally U-shaped, defining opposed side panels along its minor sides and an interposed back panel along a major side, wherein the second component side panels are spaced to receive the first component side panels there between; a bridging panel; connectors for connecting opposed sides of the bridging panel to: one of the first component side panels; and one of the second component side panels, respectively; and a chair movably mounted to the bridging panel, wherein, the work pod is configurable between: an operative condition, in which: the first component is spaced from the second component, with the first component back panel distal the second component back panel; the bridging panel is disposed between, and connected to: one of the first component side panels and; one of the second component side panels; the support surface is in the operative condition; and the chair is disposed within the area defined between the first component, the second component and the bridging panel; and a stowed condition, in which: the support surface is in the stowed condition; the bridging panel extends at least partially between the first component side panels, with the chair disposed within the area defined between the first component back panel, the first component side panels and the bridging panel; and the first component at least partially nests within the second component, with the first component side panels at least partially received between the second component side panels, such that the maximum width of the work pod is less than 770mm.

A work pod according to claim 1 , wherein: the first component includes: (i) a first shield that is slidably connected to the first component; and (ii) a first actuator for varying protrusion of the first shield beyond the operative upper edge of the first component; and the second component includes: (i) a second shield that is slidably connected to the second component; and (ii) a second actuator for varying protrusion of the second shield beyond the operative upper edge of the second component.

A work pod according to claim 2, further including a third actuator for moving the chair relative to the bridging panel.

A work pod according to claim 3, wherein the bridging panel further includes a rail along which the chair is movable.

5. A work pod according to claim 4, further including a fourth actuator for: adjusting the height of the support surface relative to the first component; and/or tilting the support surface relative to the first component.

6. A work pod according to claim 5, wherein the chair includes a seat, back rest and arm rests, wherein the seat and arm rests are tiltable relative to the back rest.

7. A work pod according to claim 6, wherein the first component: houses a controller; and includes at least one electrical outlet.

8. A work pod according to claim 7, wherein the bridging panel is sized and shaped to extend between the free ends of the first component side panels, when the work pod is in the stowed condition.

9. A work pod according to claim 8, wherein the controller: identifies a user; and operates the actuators to adjust: the support surface position, the chair position and the shields to predetermined positions associated with such user.

10. A work pod according to claim 9, further including: a proximity sensor for sensing proximity of a person within a predetermined vicinity of the work pod; and (ii) a line of vision sensor for sensing the presence of a person within line of sight of the work surface, when the work pod is in the operative condition.

1 1 . A work pod according to claim 10, further including wheels mounted to the operative bottom of the first component; and wheels mounted to the operative bottom of the second component.

12. A work pod according to claim 1 1 , further including at least one light secured to the first component and at least one light secured to the second component.

A work pod according to claim 12, further including at least one air vent disposed the first component or the second component.

14. A work pod according to claim 13, further including: a user sensor for sensing whether a user is sitting on the chair; and a timer for determining how long a user has been sitting on the chair, wherein the timer causes the controller to operate the third and/or fourth actuators to move the chair and/or support surface, respectively, should the time that a user sits on the chair exceed a predetermined time period.

15. A work pod according to claim 14, wherein the operative bottom of each of the first and second components defines a recess for facilitating transport of the work pod by a fork lift.

16. A work pod according to claim 15, further including: (i) a first cover panel for covering the first component, and releasable securing means for securing the first cover panel to the first component; (ii) a second cover panel for covering the second component, and releasable securing means for securing the second cover panel to the second component; and (iy) a third cover panel for covering the bridging panel, and releasable securing means for securing the third cover panel to the bridging panel.

Description:
BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a work pod. More particularly, the present invention relates to a nestable work pod with a bridging panel to which a chair is secured.

Various bearing work pods are known. For example:

US5,536,080 "Free standing work station" and US5,695,264 "Portable office" describe a work station including: a first component with a tiltable support surface; and a second component with a tiltable support surface, wherein the first and second components are hingedly connected to each other and configurable to a stowed condition, in which the first and second components define a closed container including the support surfaces therein. Drawbacks of this arrangement are that: (i) in use, the components do not surround the operative front, one side and back of a user; (ii) both first and second components are relatively complex and susceptible to damage during transport; and (iii) a chair is not mechanically incorporated in the work station.

US4,478,467 "Portable workshop" and US6,048,044 "Collapsible workstation" describe a work station including a series of four panels that are hingedly connected along their sides to their neighbouring panels, wherein: at least one panel includes a tiltable / removable / retractable support surface; and the free sides of the terminal panels are securable to each other to reconfigure the panels into a closed container. A similar arrangement is described in US5,803,562 "Self-contained portable office". Drawbacks of this arrangement are that: (i) all the panels are susceptible to damage during transport; and (ii) a chair is not mechanically incorporated in the work station.

US4,874,027 "Office space dividing arrangement", US2005/0217540 "Emergency despatch workstation" and USD458,453 "Partition wall" describe: a U-shaped partition wall defining side panels and an interposed back panel; and a removable support surface disposed there between. Similar partitions without side panels are described in US6,598,649 "Freestanding room divider", US8.215,065 "Modular wall unit", US2012/0199049 "Mobile workstation" and US2015/0176273 "Room divider". US2010/0164338 "Folding workstation" further describes a V-shaped workstation including: a hingedly connected pair of panels; a tiltable support surface; and a seat mechanically incorporated in the workstation. Drawbacks of these arrangement are that: (i) in use, the partitions / panels do not surround the operative front, one side and back of a user; and (ii) all the panels are susceptible to damage during transport.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a work pod that incorporates a chair and that includes nestable components, such that the work pod is configurable to a stowed condition with complex components shielded from damage during transport by other, less complex components.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, there is provided a work pod including: a first component that is generally U-shaped, defining opposed side panels along its minor sides and an interposed back panel along a major side; a support surface tiltably secured to the first component, the support surface being tiltable between: (i) an operative condition, in which the support surface extends more than 60 cm from the first component back panel, in use, to provide a substantially horizontal desk top for a user; and (ii) a stowed condition, in which the support surface extends less than 8 cm from the back panel; a second component that is generally U-shaped, defining opposed side panels along its minor sides and an interposed back panel along a major side, wherein the second component side panels are spaced to receive the first component side panels there between; a bridging panel; connectors for connecting opposed sides of the bridging panel to: one of the first component side panels; and one of the second component side panels, respectively; and a chair movably mounted to the bridging panel,

wherein, the work pod is configurable between: an operative condition, in which: the first component is spaced from the second component, with the first component back panel distal the second component back panel; the bridging panel is disposed between, and connected to: one of the first component side panels and; one of the second component side panels; the support surface is in the operative condition; and the chair is disposed within the area defined between the first component, the second component and the bridging panel; and a stowed condition, in which: the support surface is in the stowed condition; the bridging panel extends at least partially between the first component side panels, with the chair disposed within the area defined between the first component back panel, the first component side panels and the bridging panel; and the first component at least partially nests within the second component, with the first component side panels at least partially received between the second component side panels, such that the maximum width of the work pod is less than 770mm.

Typically: the first component includes: (i) a first shield that is slidably connected to the first component; and (ii) a first actuator for varying protrusion of the first shield beyond the operative upper edge of the first component; and the second component includes: (i) a second shield that is slidably connected to the second component; and (ii) a second actuator for varying protrusion of the second shield beyond the operative upper edge of the second component. Generally, the work pod further includes a third actuator for moving the chair relative to the bridging panel.

Preferably, the bridging panel further includes a rail along which the chair is movable.

Typically, the work pod further includes a fourth actuator for: adjusting the height of the support surface relative to the first component; and/or tilting the support surface relative to the first component.

Generally, the chair includes a seat, back rest and arm rests, wherein the seat and arm rests are tiltable relative to the back rest.

Preferably, the first component: houses a controller; and includes at least one electrical outlet.

Typically, the bridging panel is sized and shaped to extend between the free ends of the first component side panels, when the work pod is in the stowed condition.

Generally, the controller: identifies a user; and operates the actuators to adjust: the support surface position, the chair position and the shield protrusion to predetermined positions associated with such user.

Typically, the work further includes: a proximity sensor for sensing proximity of a person within a predetermined vicinity of the work pod; and (ii) a line of vision sensor for sensing the presence of a person within line of sight of the work surface, when the work pod is in the operative condition.

Generally, the work pod further includes: wheels mounted to the operative bottom of the first component; and wheels mounted to the operative bottom of the second component.

Preferably, the work pod further includes at least one light secured to the first component and at least one light secured to the second component. Typically, the work pod further includes at least one air vent disposed on the first component or the second component.

Generally, the work pod further includes: a user sensor for sensing whether a user is sitting on the chair; and a timer for determining how long a user has been sitting on the chair, wherein the timer causes the controller to operate the third and/or fourth actuators to move the chair and/or support surface, respectively, should the time that a user sits on the chair exceed a predetermined time period.

Preferably, the operative bottom of each of the first and second components defines a recess for facilitating transport of the work pod by a fork lift.

Typically, the work pod further includes: (i) a first cover panel for covering the first component, and releasable securing means for securing the first cover panel to the first component; (ii) a second cover panel for covering the second component, and releasable securing means for securing the second cover panel to the second component; and (iy) a third cover panel for covering the bridging panel, and releasable securing means for securing the third cover panel to the bridging panel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in more detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is an exploded perspective view of a work pod according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 is a first perspective view of the work pod in Figure 1 in an operative condition;

Figure 3 is a second perspective view of the work pod in Figure 1 in an operative condition; and

Figure 4 is a perspective view of the work pod in Figure 1 in a stowed condition. DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to Figures 1 to 4 of the drawings, a work pod 10 includes a first component, 12, a second component 14, a bridging member 16, a support surface 18 and a chair 20.

The first component 12 is generally U-shaped, defining opposed side panels 22 along its minor sides and an interposed back panel 24 along its major side. The first component 12 comprises a frame (not shown) covered with first cover panels that are releasably securable to the frame via clips. A controller (not shown) is incorporated into the first component 12, together with air vents (not shown), electrical outlets, speakers and lights.

The second component 14 is also generally U-shaped, defining opposed side panels 26 along its minor sides and an interposed back panel 28 along its major side. The second component 14 is similarly made of frame (not shown) covered with second cover panels that are releasably securable to the frame via clips. Although the second component 14 may include air vents (not shown), electrical outlets, speakers and lights, the second component is less complex, more robust and cheaper to replace than the first component 12.

The second component 14 side panels 26 are spaced further apart than the side panels 22 of the first component 12. More specifically, the first and second components 12 and 14 are sized and shaped such that the first component 12 can nest within the second component 14, with the second component 14 side panels 26 at least partially covering the first component 12 side panels 22.

The support surface 18 (i.e. a desk top) is tiltably secured to the first component, between the first component 12 side panels 22. The support surface 18 is generally planar and is movable between: (i) an operative condition, in which the support surface 18 is operatively substantially horizontally orientated and extends more than 60 cm from the first component 12 back panel 24; and (ii) a stowed condition, in which the support surface 18 is operatively substantially vertically oriented and extends less than 8 cm from the back panel. A fourth actuator (not shown) adjusts the height and tilt of the support surface 18 relative to the first component 12.

The bridging panel 16 is substantially rectangular and planar, comprising a frame (not shown) covered with third cover panels that are releasably securable to the frame via clips. Connectors (not shown) at opposite sides of the bridging panel 16 secure a first side of the bridging panel 16 to the first component 12 and an opposite side of the bridging panel 16 to the second component 14.

The bridging panel 16 is sized and shaped to fit between the first component 12 side arms 22.

The chair 20 is movably mounted to a rail on the bridging panel 18 to enable the chair to move relative to the bridging panel 18. A third actuator (not shown) moves the chair 20 relative to the bridging panel 16. Furthermore, the chair 20 includes a seat and arm rests that are pivotable relative to the back rest between an operative condition (suitable for use) and a collapsed, stowed condition.

The controller could store predetermined settings associated with each work pod 10 user. Such that, upon a user entering the work pod 10, the controller operates the third and fourth actuators to cause the chair 20 and support surface 18 to move to the preferred positions for that user.

Importantly, the bridging panel 18 and connectors securing the bridging panel 18 to the first and second components 12 and 14 are able to resist torsional forces induced by a user sitting on the chair 20

The first component 12, second component 14 and bridging panel 16 also include storage compartments.

The work pod 10 is configurable between:

• an operative condition, as shown in Figures 2 and 3, in which:

(i) the first component 12 is spaced from the second component 14, with the first component 12 back panel 24 distal the second component 14 back panel 28 (i.e. the two U-shaped components 12 and 14 face each other);

(ii) the bridging panel 16 is disposed between, and connected to: one of the first component 12 side panels 22 and; one of the second component 14 side panels 26;

(iii) the support surface 18 is in the operative condition; and

(iv) the chair 20 is disposed within the area defined between the first component 12, the second component 14 and the bridging panel 16; and • a stowed condition, as shown in Figure 4, in which:

(i) the support surface 18 is in the stowed condition;

(ii) the bridging panel 16 extends at least partially between the first component 12 side panels 22, with the chair 20 disposed within the area defined between the first component 12 back panel 24, the first component 12 side panels 22 and the bridging panel 16; and

(iii) the first component 12 at least partially nests within the second component 14, with the first component 12 side panels 22 at least partially received between the second component 14 side panels 26, such that the maximum width of the work pod is less than 770mm. This maximum width is important to enable the work pod 10 easily to be transported through doors and elevator doors when in the stowed condition.

It will be appreciated that when the work pod 10 is in the stowed condition, only:

• the outward facing side of the first component 12 back panel 24; and

• the outward facing side of the second component 14 side panels 26 and back panel 28,

is exposed to contact and damage during transport. The rest of the first component 12, the bridging panel 16, the support surface 18 and the chair 20 are enclosed within the first and second components 12 and 14 and effectively shielded thereby from damage during transport.

It will also be appreciated that the least complex, and cheapest component to replace (i.e. the second component 14) is most exposed, protecting the more complex and comparatively more expensive to replace first component 12 and bridging panel 16.

The first component 12 also includes a first shield 30 that is slidably connected to the first component 12. A first actuator (not shown) varies protrusion of the first shield 30 beyond the operative upper edge of the first component 12. Similarly, the second component 14 includes a second shield 32 that is slidably connected to the second component 14. A second actuator (not shown) varies protrusion of the second shield 32 beyond the operative upper edge of the second component 14. Typically, the controller housed within the first component 12: identifies a user; and operates the actuators to adjust: the support surface 18 position, the chair 20 position and the shields 30 and 32 to predetermined positions associated with such user.

The work pod 10 further includes: a proximity sensor (not shown) for sensing proximity of a person within a predetermined vicinity of the work pod 10; and a line of vision sensor (not shown) for sensing the presence of a person within line of sight of the work surface, when the work pod 10 is in the operative condition.

To facilitate transport of the work pod 10, wheels 34 are mounted to their operative bottom of the first and second components 12 and 14, and a recess extends between the major sides of the first and second components 12 and 14 to facilitate pick-up of the work pod 10 by a forklift when the work pod 10 is in the stowed condition.

Preferably, the work pod 10 also includes a user sensor (not shown) for sensing whether a user is sitting on the chair 20. This user sensor is in communication with a timer (not shown) for determining how long a user has been sitting on the chair 20. When the controller (using feedback from the user sensor and timer) determines that a user has been sitting in the chair for a predetermined period of time, the controller operates the third and/or fourth actuators to move the chair 20 and/or support surface 18, respectively, to encourage the user to stand.

It will be appreciated that, apart from incorporating a chair 20, the work pod 10 according to the present invention is particularly suited to be configured to a compact stowed configuration for transport. Furthermore, when in the stowed condition, most of the complex, expensive components / parts of the work pod 10 are shielded and effectively protected by the comparatively less complex and less expensive second component 14.